Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
J&J Announces $2.5B Settlement for Hip Implant Lawsuits
Johnson & Johnson says it will pay $2.5 billion to settle
lawsuits over faulty hip replacements, making it one of the largest
settlements paid out in the medical device industry.
The agreement presented in U.S. District Court in Toledo, Ohio,
resolves about 8,000 cases involving patients who had to have the
metal ball-and-socket hip implant -- called the ASR Hip System --
removed or replaced, the
The metal implant was pulled from the market in 2010 after data
showed that it failed sooner than older types of plastic or ceramic
The settlement announced late Tuesday provides about $250,000
per patient and covers those whose implants were removed or
replaced before Aug. 31, 2013. Most of the patients are expected to
receive their payments in 2014, the
J&J's lawyers have denied that the company acted
The deal does not cover all lawsuits related to the hip implant,
J&J's DePuy unit said in a statement. "DePuy will continue to
defend against remaining claims and believes its actions related to
the ASR Hip System have been appropriate and responsible," the
The ASR Hip System was sold for eight years and used in about
35,000 patients in the United States and more than 90,000
worldwide. Production of the hip implant was halted in 2009 and it
was recalled in 2010, the
Internal J&J documents suggest that company officials knew
about problems with the device at last as far back as 2008. And a
2011 company review of a patient registry said that more than
one-third of the hip implants were expected to fail within five
years of implantation, the
Replacement hips are generally supposed to last at least 10 to
20 years, according to the news service.
Supreme Court Won't Intervene in Texas Abortion Law Fight
A strict new abortion law in Texas will remain in place at least
for now after the U.S. Supreme Court said Tuesday that it will not
intervene in an ongoing legal fight over the issue.
At least one-third of Texas' abortion clinics have been closed
since October when a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of
Appeals ruled in favor of the law requiring doctors who perform
abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, the
The 5th Circuit panel's ruling overturned U.S. District Judge
Lee Yeakel's decision to block the provision. Yeakel said it served
no medical purpose and created an illegal barrier for women seeking
No more than 20 clinics in the state could meet the new
standard. All of those clinics are in metropolitan areas. There are
none in the Rio Grande Valley along the border with Mexico. As a
result of the new law, some women must travel hundreds of miles to
get an abortion, the
Planned Parenthood is challenging the new law, saying that it
unconstitutionally restricts women's rights.
Tuesday's Supreme Court decision isn't the final word on the
issue, but it means that the law will remain in effect while
Planned Parenthood's lawsuit against it continues. The case is
scheduled to be heard in January by the 5th Circuit Court of
Texas is the second-most populous state in the United States,
and an average of 80,000 abortions are performed in the state each
year, the news service said.
"This law is blocking women in Texas from getting a safe and legal medical procedure that has been their constitutionally protected right for 40 years. This is outrageous and unacceptable -- and also demonstrates why we need stronger federal protections for women's health. Your rights and your ability to make your own medical decisions should not depend on your ZIP code," said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the APreported.
Broad abortion limits have been approved in several conservative
states in recent months, but the ones in Texas are especially
controversial because of the large number of clinics affected and
the distance some women must travel to get an abortion.
The other states with laws on admitting privileges are Tennessee
and Utah. Courts have temporarily suspended similar laws in
Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi, North Dakota and Wisconsin, the
Princeton Students 'Highly Unlikely' to Spread Meningitis During
Holiday Travel: Officials
It's "highly unlikely" that a meningitis outbreak at Princeton
University will spread when students travel over the holidays, but
students should get vaccinated as soon as possible, health
Another person on campus was diagnosed with the rare strain of
meningitis last week. It's the seventh case since the strain first
appeared at Princeton in March. Six students and one campus visitor
have been infected, but no cases outside of campus have been
reported, according to
On Monday, university officials said the school would offer a
new vaccine not yet approved for use in the United States.
The vaccine, called Bexsero, is currently approved for use in
Australia and Europe. It is the only vaccine that specifically
protects against meningococcal disease caused by serogroup B, the
rare strain that's affecting people at Princeton,
It is "highly unlikely" that Princeton students would spread the
disease during holiday travel, because it "requires prolonged,
close contact in order to spread from person to person," according
to Sharon Hoskins, a senior press officer at the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention.
Princeton students don't need to cancel or alter their holiday
plans, but the families of the seven people who have already
contracted the disease should consider taking preventative
antibiotics, she told
Heart Drug Maker Accused of Withholding Negative Study Data
A drug company withheld clinical trial data showing that a
medicine meant to lower the risk of heart attack actually increased
the risk, according to cardiologists.
They said that for more than a year, Anthera Pharmaceuticals
ignored a requirement to provide academic investigators with data
from the Phase 3 study of a drug called varespladib.
"Despite a contract that required transfer to the academic authors, the company stonewalled every attempt to acquire the data," Dr. Steven Nissen, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic, said in an email to The New York Times.
He was the senior author of a report on the study data that was
published online Monday in the
Journal of the American Medical Associationand released at
the annual meeting of the American Heart Association.
In presenting the results at the meeting, study lead
investigator Dr. Stephen Nicholls chastised the drug company.
"We think that when you enter into a clinical trial, and we enter into contracts with our patients, there's an obligation that we are going to do the right thing," said Nicholls, a cardiologist at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute in Adelaide, The Timesreported.
The study looked at whether the drug could reduce the risk of
heart attack, stroke, chest pain requiring hospitalization, and
death in more than 5,100 patients with acute coronary syndrome. The
results showed that patients who took the drug actually had a
higher risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular problems than
those who took a placebo.
The study was halted early by the safety monitoring committee in
The accusations of withholding study data were denied by
Anthera's chief medical officer, Dr. Colin Hislop. He said it
simply took time to gather and organize the data. "I don't think
the timeline was particularly protracted, nor were we being
difficult," Hislop told
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